Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Spaan's Cannonball' / Spaan's Cannonball Sawara cypress

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Spaan's Cannonball' is a diminutive, dense ball of tightly packed, creamy pale-green foliage. The plant is similar, but quite small than the better-known Ch. pisifera 'Plumosa Compressa Aurea.' After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 4 inches (20 cm) tall and wide, an annual growth rate of much less than 1 inch (2.5 cm).

This cultivar's origin is speculative at best. It is clearly named for Jon Spaan who was an active nurseryman in Washington state in the 1950s and 60s. It unknown at this time whether or not he found the original plant or if it was simply named for him. The nature of the mutation is also a mystery . . . It is often seen listed in the nursery trade simply as, 'Cannonball.'

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Spaan's Cannonball' — a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by Bill Barger
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Spaan's Cannonball' — tiny mature plants in a rock garden setting.
Photo by Bill Barger